Reconsidering evil and salvation: TCR’s ‘Hunchback’ offers engrossing storytelling, exceptional vocals

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Theatre Cedar Rapids — through May 26

Alexander Dodge’s set beautifully recreates a rose window at Notre Dame for ‘Hunchback’ and Theatre Cedar Rapids. — Studio Reserved/Theatre Cedar Rapids

The Hunchback of Notre Dame — directed by Angie Toomsen, assisted by Lisa Kelly and with musical direction by Janelle Lauer — opened Friday at Theatre Cedar Rapids (it runs through May 26; tickets are $25-52). With rich vocals from the first notes, a story of outcasts, sin and love was woven beautifully on stage. A complex, beautiful set, designed by Alexander Dodge, greets the audience and supports the storytelling throughout the show. S. Benjamin Farrar has created a lighting design that also tells the story. Truly, every aspect of this show works together to bring this musical drama so successfully to the stage.

Quasimodo (Mic Evans) rings the bells. — Studio Reserved/Theatre Cedar Rapids

Mic Evans is outstanding as Quasimodo, a deformed, pitiable human — but also a true hero. Evans’ acting and singing is on point as he brings Quasimodo’s story to life. But Evans is not alone: The entire cast tells the story in alternating narration throughout the show. The narration is delivered so well that the story is entirely engrossing.

Quasimodo (Mic Evans) cowers before Frollo (Kehry Anson Lane). — Studio Reserved/Theatre Cedar Rapids

Kehry Anson Lane is totally convincing as a Dom Claude Frollo; he is at once self-righteous and conflicted. His voice carries his lines as well as the lyrics; he delivers his sanctimonious pronouncements as evenly as he begs Esmerelda to love him. The foil to Lane’s pious Frollo is Esmerelda, played by Marita May. Enchanting and sincere, May brings this lively character to life through dance, song and interactions with nearly every character on stage.

Sage Spiker is well cast as Captain Phoebus de Martin, a man who struggles with loyalty, love and his own sense of honor. Spiker’s vocals are strong throughout; he truly is the dashing young soldier in this production. As the characters move through questions of love, friendship, evil, salvation and power, the audience enjoys exceptional vocal performances from the entire ensemble accompanied by a small but mighty orchestra.

Theatre Cedar Rapids’ ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ ensemble. — Studio Reserved/Theatre Cedar Rapids

In addition to the primary characters, the ensemble is made of strong singers. They are also inventively costumed (Joni Sackett) and choreographed (Erin Helm) in their many iterations: Roma, townspeople, statues and soldiers. While the stage combat could be tightened up, the dancing and movement throughout the show is natural and draws the audience into the story. And it would be unfair to leave out the patient choristers who are key to the richness of the group songs, and who create an air for foreboding within the cathedral itself.

Mic Evans as Quasimodo, with Hannah Spina and Samie James as the gargoyles. — Studio Reserved/Theatre Cedar Rapids

The excellent performances of all characters — from the gargoyles (Samie James and Hannah Spina) to the saints to the main characters to the congregants and choir — bring to life a show that asks the audience to consider and reconsider evil, salvation, and, in the end, challenges us all to answer the question: Who is the real monster?

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.